A Further Look: Championing the Democratization of Financial Advice

By David Root CFP®

Recently, it was announced that Charles Schwab was acquiring T.D. Ameritrade in a blockbuster deal that will shakeup the financial services industry. While there are still legal hurdles before the deal is formalized, the average investor has a lot to process. Especially those customers of Ameritrade who will now find themselves customers of Schwab.

Our firm has partnered with Charles Schwab for more than four years, and we have always been on board with Schwab’s 45-year mission – to democratize investing to allow the average person to get involved in the stock market.

When Charles Schwab founded the company, he was opposed to large brokerage firms acting as advice givers or ‘story tellers’ as he puts it - who were often conflicted in selling their products.

Today, while working with Schwab, investing has never been more affordable to our clients. The cost of a single trade has gone down remarkably since Schwab changed the way trading is done. For example – the average commission in the late 1980s was about $45 and could climb into thousands of dollars depending on the size of the trade. Today, we trade at zero commission cost – regardless of the size of your trade.

Having said all of this, the advice industry has changed dramatically. We have democratized it to make it easier for our clients. DBR & CO has taken steps to make advice simple, transparent and low cost.

We now sit on the same side of the table as our clients. Privileges that used to be reserved exclusively for High Net Worth (HNW) individuals are becoming available for others. That’s one reason why we have dedicated so much time toward democratizing our financial planning process. Regardless of the size of your wealth, a good financial plan can serve to protect those assets.

As the industry is re-shaped, one positive outcome will be that more people will have access to a greater quantity and quality of financial strategies and advice. Two drivers that will accelerate the democratization of wealth management are a shift in investor preference toward more personal advice as well as advances in technology.

It is easier than ever before to receive high-level financial advice. While clients are driving and demanding these changes, many firms are still mired in the quicksand of the past. In the words of the former successful NFL coach and motivational speaker, George Allen, the future is now!

Feel free to contact me to discuss how our firm remains committed to leading, and not following in this new era of financial advice.

Thanks for reading,


David Root

Founder and CEO


David Root is Founder and CEO at DBR & CO, a Pittsburgh-based wealth management firm. If you would like to contact the author, David Root, please e-mail him at d.rootjr@dbroot.com or call 412-227-2800.

This material has been provided for general, informational purposes only, represents only a summary of the topics discussed, and is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice or recommendations. Rather, they simply reflect the opinions and views of the author. D. B. Root & Company, LLC. does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting ramifications, you should consult appropriate professionals for advice that is specific to your situation. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy or investment will prove profitable. This document contains information derived from third party sources. Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information derived from such sources, and take no responsibility therefore. This document contains certain forward-looking statements signaled by words such as "anticipate," "expect", or "believe" that indicate future possibilities. Due to known and unknown risks, other uncertainties and factors, actual results may differ materially from the expectations portrayed in such forward-looking statements. As such, there is no guarantee that the expectations, beliefs, views and opinions expressed in this document will come to pass. Information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security.

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436 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2800

Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1818


Phone: 412.227.2800

Toll Free: 888.227.0913

Fax: 412.227.2805

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